Well, it was blowing a gale Tuesday afternoon when I got home after work and cleaning a vehicle for the Carshare Co-op. In keeping with my standard belief that when it's too windy to carry my kayak solo it's too windy to go paddling solo, I knew this wasn't the afternoon to go on the water. Heck, a full city block from the beach I could hear the waves pounding on the sand (even with my bum ears).
Instead of getting into my gear, I thought of how that beach is good for launching, but there's a tip that makes it even better: the best place to launch kayaks is at the boat ramp. There's no beach logs to trip over at that sandy ramp. I twisted my ankles on the logs many times before figuring that out.
There are other tips about local launch places that are worth sharing, and that strikes me as a good thought for a day when I'm not on the water. I'll think of a few more.
-Launching at Willows Beach at low tide means a long walk out to the water, but in summer there's the blue Kiwanis tearoom for a hot cuppa after the outing.
-Cordova Bay has a nice park with room to leave a few cars while you're on the water, but it's a steep climb from the beach up a paved path to the road. Motivate yourself for the climb with thoughts of going to Mattick's Farm, a mile or so north, for fresh vegetables.
-For restrooms, Island View Beach has great pit toilets (yes, that's not an oxymoron, there is such a thing). So does Coles Bay. These ones are well-made, and large enough to make it easy to change into or out of paddling gear.
-Telegraph Bay is in a call shadow and most cell phones can't get a signal from any tower here. You have to go over the hill to Arbutus Road, or out on the water outside the bay.
-When paddling at Elk Lake, be sure to bring a couple of bucks and go afterwards to the little restaurant at Hamsterly Beach, the building with the odd roof by the highway. Great place for a hot drink after practising rolling, wet exits, and rescues.
-When carrying boats from the parking lot at Beaver Lake down to the water, walk along the paved footpath instead of across the grass. In spring, the grassy slope is soggy and your feet will tear it to muddy shreds. In summer, the grassy slope is absolutely covered with picnic blankets and frisbees in motion.
-Esquimalt Lagoon is a good place to launch for a paddle into Esquimalt Harbour, but the bridge at one end of the peninsula is closed to vehicle traffic, and open only to bikes and pedestrians.
-There's a good little beach on Songhees land at the Inner Harbour. The developers were told by City Hall to keep public access to this beach open. Parking is free at this beach on Sundays. Use it or lose it! And while you're at it, go to the right along the shore and look at the place where there's talk of putting in a marina for 85-foot long yachts. Then send another note to City Hall.
That's enough for now. I'll think of some more soon.